Ray of the Rosers

The Players:      Hugh St. Lawrence (Captain), Ray, Charlie, Fran, Chris, Brain Dead, Sandra, Mel, Paul, Keith P, Toby, Sarah, John; Jane C. (phofographer), Jane E (support)

It began as most things do in the pub, this time it was after a challenging game of Pool with the Earby Pothole Club and the stakes were upped to “Football ‘ - You know, that silly game they play in America. Ray phoned up mid week as all co-ordinators do, panicking! and that he expected all four Wilkinson’s to turn up at 5 o’clock in Burton in Lonsdale - even better turn up at 4.30 to mow the pitch!
The tactics were given serious discussion on Friday evening in the Barbon over a few pints. What to wear? - furry suits and wellingtons! The rules of the game were explained in detail on the way to the venue, don’t kick it back to the goalie - we wouldn’t be forgiven for scoring an own goal!

We arrived, and it immediately started to look serious. The Earby were already on the field warming up and all dressed up in green and white strip. Out of Red Rose car boots came furry suits and wellies - no, we did play in mouldy old white (?) T-shirts found in the club house. The next psychological blow came with the arrival of the referee, yes a proper referee complete with full black strip, badge, whistle and cards. Undaunted we took to the pitch for a warm up, and a count up - had we got eleven players? The two Jane’s were our ‘supporter’ and ‘photographer’ and if Keith Pacey hadn’t turned up, nearly wiping out his car on the way they would have had to play! Numbers increased with the arrival of Chris and ‘Brain Dead’ who had been caving down Ireby.

We were informed that we could substitute any player at any time, and that the ‘off siderule was also abandoned - what that was I never found out! A toss of the coin and we were off. Captain Ray of the Rosers kicked off. It was hard to describe the next thirty minutes, the defence of Charlie, the saves by Fran our goalie, the control and steadying influence of Hugh. As lines person I watched with amazement as we scored the first goal, then another. Then the Earby after a lot of pressure managed to pull one back. Keith’s running, supported by Mel again paid off as he booted the ball into the goal area and it was 3-1. Fran managed to get her finger tips to a good counter attack, a good shot but she was unable to stop it reaching the net and it was 3-2 as the half time whistle blew. The Earby team went into a huddle, refreshed by cool melon and oranges. The Red Rose team? some rolled their Ritzlas, one drank a can of beer and as we laid there aching muscles stiffened up and all agreed that they were knackered. It would be a good time to stop.
Second half, and I was asked to play in defence with Sarah. Within ten minutes we were 4-3 down (I only played ten minutes). Charlie was so knackered he changed places with Fran, and was soon to be severely put to the test as the Earby hammered our goal. 5-3 then 6-3. It was obvious who played football every weekend (who said they were a caving club?).

But then another rally by Keith, up the wing to Ray in the centre who booted it into the net to make the score 6-4. A foul close to the goal mouth then gave us a penalty, and an Earby defender was given the red card - Yes, sent off! Keith took the kick but the keeper saved it, a good save. Pity. The Earby managed one more goal before, thankfully, mercifully, the final whistle blew.

The final result was 7-4 to the Earby. A great game played in a sporting and friendly manner (except that little bugger who kicked Mel up in the air!) and a
very tired Red Rose were clapped off the pitch with hand shakes all round. It was then time to retire to the Punch Bowl to replenish our reserves of alcohol and nicotine!

Sandra Wilkinson.

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